Storing fresh aloe vera gel for a long time without refrigeration is only possible if there was actually a reliable and safe way to accomplish that.
But there isn’t, sorry to say, so your next best bet is to stick with the refrigeration method popular to everyone and their moms, which is to extract the gel from the leaf and then store in an airtight container stuffed inside the fridge.
For the definitive answer, read below.
You can’t store fresh aloe vera gel for a long time without refrigeration. The gel will lose a significant amount of its essential bioactive components (the components needed to provide the sought after benefits – be it medicinal or cosmetic) in only a matter of hours, due to the decomposition of the gel matrix which begins the very moment the leaf is cut off from the rest of the plant.
The result, after only a few days of storage is a deteriorated leaf – sometimes deteriorating even much faster than a mushroom kept at room temperature, and a brown-ened mess of gel that you’d never want to apply on your face or slathered across your fruit salad.
Why you shouldn’t store aloe vera gel for a long time
Aloe is a super sturdy plant that loves the climate of the tropic and arid regions, but the very moment you cut off a leaf from the main plant, the leaf losses all of its sturdiness acquired from mom and turns into a perishable product, despite the decent amount of preservatives and vitamins present in it that should normally act to prolong storage.
When the gel isn’t put to use in less than six hours, and also not kept under cold storage like the refrigerator, its biological activity is greatly affected due to decomposition of the gel matrix caused by natural enzymatic reactions from within and also the activities of bacteria present on the leaf due to the presence of oxygen, which translates into a less potent (the good way potent) ingredient around the house.
This means that whatever benefit you intended deriving from the aloe vera gel would only be reaped at small amount, because the gel has now lost a significant amount of its goodness.
For home users, there’s actually good news with regards to the preservation of aloe gel around the house, and it’s the refrigerator (as opposed to the counter). Even though this works, it only does so by slowing down the activities of enzymes and bacteria by virtue of its cold nature rather than stopping them completely, so eventually, the goodness will still be lost and the aloe will run into spoilage. The former begins the very first day you begin refrigeration (at a slow pace than on the counter) and the latter, a week after.
So even though you may have an aloe vera gel keeping for good 7 days, it still isn’t the freshet you can put on your face or mix into the fruit salad for a boost in nutrition. The best would always be the gel from that fresh cut of aloe that you plucked from the backyard or purchased from the stores and used almost immediately!
The best possible way to store aloe vera gel when you really have to store it
Step one: Pluck the required number of aloe leaves from the plant. I find it weird calling them leaves, but leaves they are, so!
Step two: Extract the gel immediately after plucking, otherwise you’ll loose on most of the goodies by the time the leave sits unprotected for long. The easiest way to extract the gel is by cutting the aloe leaf in half and then running the edge of a spoon or knife against the inside of each half to drain out the gel in a bowl, while being extra vigilant not to scoop out elements of the skin. This, of course, should only be done after the aloe plant and your hands have been properly cleaned under water, and the plant has been allowed to sit upright in a bowl for 15 minutes to drain out the sap.
Next, blend the scooped out gel until frothy and liquefied.
Step three: Next, you can go ahead and skip to the next step, or add preservatives to further improve the storage life of the gel but at the extra cost of more ingredients. So your gel isn’t going to be 100 percent made out of aloe, and denting on whatever you’re using it for, that may not be something desired.
Pure aloe gel would normally last up to 7 days in the refrigerator and indefinitely in the freezer, but will lose its biological activity in less than a year in the freezer. Gel with added preservatives would normally keep for up to 3 months in the refrigerator and, well, nothing beats the indefinite amount of time for the freezer is there?
The preservatives you can add include honey, vitamin C, vitamin E or a combination of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. These would normally improve the flavor, antioxidant and anti-aging properties, alongside its shell life.
To add the honey, use one tablespoon for every tablespoon, for vitamins, use powdered and add 500 mg of vitamin C or 400 IU of vitamin E or both into every ¼ cup (60 ml) of aloe vera gel.
Blend the mixture until they incorporate fully into the gel.
Step four: Package for airtightness within six hours. This would ensure that your gel isn’t sitting too long at room temperature and exposed to oxygen which will cause its quick deterioration among other detrimental things. To package, transfer mixture into an airtight container and pop into the refrigerator or the freezer. Alternatively, you can stuff the gel in a silicon ice cube tray and freeze, then take out and transfer into an air tight container, label and then pop into the freezer. Thaw to room temperature and use as required.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you store aloe vera gel in the fridge?
Yes, aloe vera gel can be stored in the fridge. It can be pureed and put in the refrigerator for no more than 7 days and in the freezer for no more than one year, although it’s better to put the gel to use earlier for both instances. The earlier you use the gel, the fresher and more benefiting it is.
How long can aloe vera gel keep outside the fridge?
Aloe will keep for no more than 2 days outside the fridge. After this period, the gel will deteriorate in quality and might even turn brown.
There is no way to store aloe vera gel for a long time without refrigeration. It will deteriorate quickly at room temperature, in less than a two days, and render useless.
The best way to store aloe is refrigerate the puree under airtight sealing for up to 7 days, and the best way to reap the maximum benefit of aloe gel is to use it when it’s fresh.