Aloe vera is a popular houseplant and medicinal herb. Many people drink aloe vera juice or use it in smoothies or fruit desserts. It is also possible, though, to cook aloe vera. It is popular in Asian, Latin American and other cuisines. The health benefits of aloe vera are said to be numerous. Some people believe it helps individuals with diabetes. The plant is reported to be good as a laxative and can provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome. Aloe vera is high in vitamins C, A and B-12, protein, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
Wash the aloe vera leaves. Even though the skin should not be eaten, remove any loose dirt from the skin so that it doesn’t get onto the plant's flesh when the leaves are sliced open.
Slice off the bottom of each leaf.
Drain each leaf. Prop up the leaves in a bowl or colander and let them sit for one to two hours. A yellow, gooey substance is in the aloe vera leaves, and this should be removed before cooking.
Peel the aloe vera leaves by removing the outer skin. Some people prefer to cut into the side and fillet the leaf as if it were a fish. Because the plant can be slippery, be careful. Discard the skin, which can cause stomach upset in some people.
Cut the flesh of the aloe vera into 1-inch cubes.
Cook the aloe vera. Simmer aloe vera with your favorite spices for about 1/2 hour. The aloe will probably shrink during cooking. Another option is to add the aloe vera to a favorite soup or stew recipe about 30 minutes before the dish is finished cooking. Some people boil aloe vera cubes in 1 cup of sugar with the juice of one lemon or lime for a refreshing, sweet treat.
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Catherine A. Mezensky has been writing professionally since 2002. She writes about gardening for various web sites, including eHow. Mezensky holds a Master of Arts in liberal studies from Loyola Collage in Maryland. She also has a professional background in museum education and English writing.