Along the Grapevine


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There is no rule that says foraging cannot be done indoors, so now that the ground is covered in snow and ice, I have turned my attention to some of my houseplants. It was a surprise to me that aloe vera is edible, at least the clear, jelly like innards of the thick leaves. I learned this from this site here. The pictures and the description of the plant as edible convinced me to try it.

After all those festive meals, I wanted to make something light and healthful – and you can’t get lighter or more healthful than this superfood. I have listed some sites below which list the myriad benefits of this plant. I found the taste a little bitter, until soaked in some lime juice, which removed any bitterness and left really no flavour at all. So it is used more for its decorative and nutritional value than for taste. It is considered a great detox food and can be mixed into smoothies as a thickening agent. You lose the prettiness of the gel that way, but might be worth a try anyway, especially if you don’t like anything gelatinous.

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Cubes of aloe vera on a stick

To prepare it, just cut the leaves off the plant at the base. First,I cut off the spiny edges with a sharp knife, and then ran the knife under the thick exterior and filleted it like a fish. Just be sure to remove all the green parts. The flesh should be completely clear. Cut it in cubes and soak it in the juice of lemon or lime.

My first idea was to add it to a fruit salad – our Boxing Day Brunch. Having soaked the aloe in lime juice, I just threw the whole dish (contents) into some chopped apples, persimmons and pomegranate, but obviously whatever fruits you have work just as well.

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Fruit salad topped with pieces of aloe vera

Essential in any special brunch is a glass of bubbly, so I mixed some with orange juice, freshly squeezed, for it was Boxing Day after all. Then I used pomegranate seeds, orange slices and cubes of aloe vera for garnish. And a new recipe for a mimosa was invented.

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Mimosa garnished with fruit and aloe vera cubes

If any readers have any other ideas of what they have done with this plant, I for one would be very grateful if you could share it. I think using aloe vera as an edible plant just might catch on.