Posted on 22 Comments

Fermenting Aloe Vera?

A bottle of stockton brand aloe Vera with a champagne glass

If you have been following along in recent months, you probably know that I am a big fan of fermentation. That is, I like cultured cuisines and cultured beverages not only for their tastes, but more importantly, for their health benefits.

When most people think of fermented beverages, they usually think about the alcohol content; but I’ll kill that buzz because that’s not what I’m talking about. What I am referring to is the probiotic content of raw unpreserved cultured foods and beverages including sauerkraut, kimchi, yougurt, Kefir, kombucha, and kvass. Sure, there are more. But those that I listed are my personal favorites and household staples. These are the things that help keep our guts flowing smoothly.

Now you may have noticed that aloe Vera did not make my “favorite ferments” list. That is not to say that it doesn’t ferment; indeed it does! But fermented aloe Vera… let’s just say that aloe Vera can be difficult enough to drink when it is fresh and that the taste and texture does not that get any better with age.

So why on earth would I be writing about fermented aloe Vera? Because if you have been a customer of ours for any period of time, you have probably already consumed fermented aloe Vera!

By now you might be wondering why we sold you fermented aloe Vera and didn’t tell you. Actually, we didn’t! But, Stockton Aloe 1 brand has NOT been pasteurized and does NOT have any bacteria killers (preservatives) in it. Although this may be a good thing, having a juice without any preservatives will allow fermentation to occur given enough time within a certain temperature range. It would be like squeezing fresh grapes to make grape juice. Even if you just leave it in your refrigerator for a week or two, eventually you will have wine; it might even get a little effervescent – especially if it has a tightly sealed cap.

Just last week, my wife and I both had a glass of fizzy fermented aloe Vera. Usually our family will drink a half gallon bottle of gel in a few days. But this bottle some how disappeared into the back on the lowest shelf. It was hidden behind the watermelon that was waiting for the labor day of relaxation. It had been at least a week since we originally thawed and drank from this particular bottle. But this time, when I re-opened it, I heard a the familiar sound that comes from 12 ounce dark glass bottle with a twist off top – yes, you guessed it – kombucha!

Upon pouring the aloe, it seemed to flow with an extra thick slippery consistency that couldn’t be stopped. I thought for a moment that I might need a knife or scissors to separate the gel that was going into my glass from the gel coming out of the bottle. But as I diverged the two enough, the gel snapped and then slimmed down the edges of the two vessels.

I raised the glass to my lips for a taste. Upon contact, I could feel the sparkling nature of a light ferment. The taste was not at all pleasant. Despite to FDA bacteria warning on the side of the bottle, I decided to down the whole glass, 8 ounces, in just a few gulps. I suppose the only way I could have drank it faster was if I was back in college with my roommate “Super Dave” who was always happy to hold a 16 ounce beer funnel for a friend in need.

As time passed, I realized that once again I escaped the dreaded consequences of the potential pathogenic bacteria as warned by the FDA that, so far, must not have been in my drink to begin with.

So why am I bringing this to your attention now? A few weeks ago I returned from the Dominican Republic. I was there to supervise the processing of our recent harvest. As I taste tested the aloe Vera several times per day at the various points of production, I realized that we were indeed capturing the absolute best product our company has ever produced. The aloe Vera was thicker and tastier than ever before. We even eliminated one of the steps in our usual process – rinsing the fillets before they go into the grinder. What I didn’t know was that this batch of gel would ferment sooner than previous harvests.

Based on our experience in the last few weeks and testing the gel, we once again cleared microbiology testing (no pathogenic bacteria detected). However, we are realizing that in the refrigerator, the gel will indeed begin to noticeably ferment around day 7. It may occur sooner or later depending on the temperature of your refrigerator.

What We Are Doing About It

We realize that a clean ferment is not a harmful thing. However, it is NOT desirable with aloe Vera. Therefore, we will include an extra small bottle or two with instructions on how to get the most out of your aloe Vera. That is, should you thaw a bottle that you do NOT plan on finishing within 1 week, we recommend that you pour the aloe Vera into manageable portions, such as into 8 ounce bottles, to refreeze them in the smaller portions for use at a later date. Remember to leave about 15 – 20% space in the bottle for expansion of the aloe during freezing. We recommend BPA free plastic bottles since Aloe vera expands too much for glass and glass is especially fragile at frozen temperatures.

You can freeze and thaw aloe vera multiple times as long as it is kept cold. Your total thaw time should not exceed 1 week for maximum freshness.

22 thoughts on “Fermenting Aloe Vera?

  1. Living in one of the historic centers of moonshine in North Georgia I am truly wondering if enough fermentation, most probably with some kind of starchy/sugary assist would result in the range of 16% alcohol that is achievable with yeast, various juices and enough sugar. Then some distilling and we have a slurpy aloquila???
    Anybody enterprising to have tried this?

    1. We did have an adventurist try this… with several distillations… and came up with a healthy alcoholic beverage that needed some serious mixers. They abandoned the project.

  2. is it possible to ferment aloe gel, as you would make a wine, i.e., with gel, active wine yeast or bakers yeast, sugar, and water. ???

    1. I will indeed ferment… which is why we recommend you consume it within 10 days… before it ferments too much.

  3. Hi, Love your site.
    I am in my 77th year and live in a retirement village in New Zealand. I miss my garden where my herbs and wild weeds grew and massive Aloe Aborescens. Also two types of Aloe Vera, yellow flowered and red flowered. There was always controversy over which was the true Aloe Vera. I keep my yellow flowered Aloe Vera in a large pot standing on soil at my front door as we are not supposed to plant things. But I did sneak an Aloe Aborescens out the back where it can’t be seen from the road and it is getting very large now after 3 years. I have Father Romano Zago book “Cancer can be cured” where he extols the virtues of this Aloe far above the Aloe Vera. Personally I feel both are excellent.
    One makes a cure for everything with 400gm leaves (just cut off bottom leaving the green skin, 500gms raw honey and 50ml of any alcohol and blend thoroughly with a powerful blender. This keeps for years in the fridge. I look forward to learning more from you.
    PS although my BP has been around 240/110 for at least 9 years I do not take any medications of any kind, my body reacts violently.
    We eat organically or spray free and enjoy our life. God has always been there to lead me in the right direction to get me through any problem which crops up although I don’t feel I deserve it.

  4. I make fermented + probiotic bath and body products.

    I’d like to ferment the whole fresh aloe vera leaf. Can you please provide instructions.

    Thanks!

    1. We do not recommend fermenting Aloe vera because the probiotics will consume the beneficial nutrients. But if you are set on it, I recommend the book “Wild Fermentation” to learn how to ferment anything.

  5. yes, there is a very complex biochemical reactions. but all i want to know if fermentation increase acemannan or decrease it? are you linked to some studies dealing with acemannan rates after fermentation ?

    1. We have not studied this, however, I am confident that it would decrease being consumed by probiotics.

  6. Hello dear Micheal
    i’m passionate by fermented foods. i do multiple research on aloe products especially the Brazilian recipe (aloe-honey-whiskey). i’m planning to make a whole fermentation to this magic potion. so the honey and the complete aloe leaf must ferment. what do you think about this idea?

    1. I suspect the pro-biotics will consume the nutrients that make aloe vera special… including the Acemannan. Fermented aloe does NOT taste good… but honey might fix it.

      1. Hi Dr. MIchael
        thanks for your reply. it’s well known that fermentation increases the bio active molecules in nutrients. a lot of studies suggest that fermentation increase the amount of vitamins and amino acids and proteins. a good exemple is the transresveratol, a polyphenol present in grapes. the amount of this antioxydant is 0.01 mg/l in grape juice. once the grape juice is fermented and converted to wine, this concentration become 11 mg/l.

        i ask the same question for the vitamins and amino acids of aloe vera, also for the acemannan. so what do you think ?

        1. Fermentation will increase some things… while decreasing others.

  7. Regarding your great crop in the Dominican Republic……….is it possible that the product ferments sooner………because you eliminated the rinsing process, thereby leaving small amounts of aloin (?) in the processed gel ?
    AM NEW TO YOUR WEBSITE………..LOVE WHAT YOU ARE PROVIDING FOR US…………..THANK YOU.

    1. I love your question… because I love our answer! We really do not allow fermentation. That is, the leaves are removed from the field, rinsed, edges and ends cut, bath one… bath two, then filleted, fillets run through a grinder, gel run through a “heat transfer unit” where the gel is brought to about 50 degrees F in a couple minutes, then put into the containers that are put into the freezer. The aloe gel runs through the heat transfer within minutes of being filleted and liquified.

      1. I am confused………..Below is a quote from your article where you state that in the Dominican Republic you eliminated one step of rinsing in the process……..and that that batch fermented sooner then expected…………SOOOO that is why I asked you if perhaps eliminating the rinsing step would lead to aloin in the gel, thereby causing fermentation to happen sooner than normal.

        “A few weeks ago I returned from the Dominican Republic. I was there to supervise the processing of our recent harvest. As I taste tested the aloe Vera several times per day at the various points of production, I realized that we were indeed capturing the absolute best product our company has ever produced. The aloe Vera was thicker and tastier than ever before. WE EVEN ELIMINATED ONE OF THE STEPS IN OUR USUAL PROCESS – RINSING THE FILLETS BEFORE THEY GO INTO THE GRINDER.
        WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW WAS THAT THIS BATCH OF GEL WOULD FERMENT SOONER THAN PREVIOUS HARVESTS.”

        1. I wonder if the viscosity had something to do with the faster fermentation. We had very little rain prior to the harvest and have never seen our aloe so thick before. Some customers actually complained that it was too thick to swallow! Others loved the thickness.

          Every harvest is indeed different. But, by tastier, what I meant was that you could really taste the aloe flavor… nutrients from the gel… not the bitter outer leaf aloin.

          I hope that helps the confusion. I know it doesn’t solve the fermentation puzzle… but does offer a possible more likely cause.

          One interesting thing we have noticed is that we haven’t had any real aloin flavors in the last few harvests. I just returned from the Dominican a couple weeks ago. Our most recent harvest is in the labs for testing now and should be released by Tuesday. It is another delicious harvest 🙂

    2. Oh… Sorry Elizabeth… I am re-reading your question. That is, does it ferment FASTER because of the increased aloin…

      We have now realized that we actually don’t have increased aloin. That is, the filet process is so quick and clean that there is no aloin to get into the gel. I think the bleeding and bathed leaves also has a lot to do with eliminating the aloin.

  8. John, you CAN ferment aloe vera… it doesn’t taste good though. Also, regarding dangerous bacteria… if we are talking about naturally occurring inherent bacteria, it is not dangerous. The FDA is warning against pathogenic bacteria that would result if contamination occurred. With all the microbiology testing we do, we have never found pathogenic bacteria in Stockton Aloe Vera.

  9. I enjoyed this article but was somewhat disappointed to hear that fermenting raw aloe juice is not recommended. What about using some type of water kefir grains such as those used to ferment coconut water? Would this create a product that was free of the potentially dangerous bacteria you mentioned?

  10. Excellent article! I, too, am a lover of fermentation (Kefir, Sauerkraut and Kombucha). I’m quite sure your products healing qualities are increased due to the fermenting process like the items I mentioned earlier. Thank you so much, Dr. Haley, for pointing me in the direction of The Maker’s Diet almost 4 months ago. Our phone conversation meant a lot to me and I have done a Maker’s Diet/GAPS Diet hybrid ever since and all I can say is WOW! I have been off of ALL of my RA medication for 3 months now and am feeling SO much better. Fermentation is SO key to healing (Along with a healthy dose of Bone Broth Soup and other goodies). Dr. Haley….You were VERY kind to spend time with me on the phone and point me in the right direction of healing when I was at a true crossroads and unsure what to do. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart…..Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Mark. It’s so nice to hear of your success. Not everyone makes it through the learning process – that is, many don’t want to leave their Standard American Diet because they don’t know how much better real food is and how delicious it becomes once the addictions to the S.A.D. are broken. I’m glad to hear of your appreciation for healthy ferments.

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