Monday, July 15, 2013

What I Learned About Using Aloe Vera in Lotion

Out of lotion and so today I mixed up a new batch.

I decided to try adding aloe vera and had a new recipe to try.

With a number of new plants started I figured we could sacrifice the whole plant. So I slit each leaf lengthwise and opened it up. Then I scraped the gel like juices from the inside with a sharp knife.

There were quite a few leaf pieces that broke apart as I scraped and so I pressed the juice through a screen.  Now I'm wondering about drying aloe vera. I use capsules of it as a mild cure for constipation that occasionally comes with my water imbalance issues. It would be nice to create my own.And of course I use the gel on sunburns as it draws the heat out and allows the burn to quickly heal.  I've also read where another type of aloe vera has much better medicinal properties. I'll have to look into that sometime.  
Disappointed, I found out that I had come up with only a fourth a cup instead of the cup the recipe called for despite using the entire plant. I did not have soy lecithin anyway, another ingredient in the new recipe. Most soy lecithin I hear is derived from genetically modified plants so I'm not sure it is what I want to use anyway.
So as an experiment I used my old recipe and just added the aloe juice after I had melted the oils.
When the lotion was made and I was going to ladle it into the two small jars when I discovered that there was liquid that wasn't incorporated into the oil mixture. Now I see that the aloe vera indeed needed a emulsifier. There wasn't much so I just stirred and tipped the jar upside down and then stirred again repeating the process several times before placing in the jars. I'll keep the lotion in the refridgerator and next time use something else. I think I'll use something that has been steeped in the oil.  
Before the lotion I made a quick vinegar cheese for the chickens. I just heat milk up to almost boiling point and pour in a 1/4 cup of vinegar per gallon (approximately that is) and stir.  The whey will quickly separate from the cheese. The chickens love it and it helps increase their calcium levels. I've not had as much luck getting them to drink milk as I have this simple cheese. Modern day chickens lay far more eggs than the ones from our pioneer ancestors. The problem is the increase in egg production depletes the chickens of calcium which is therefore taken from their bones. As you can imagine my eggs have a lovely hard shell.
The whey from this cheese I pour over my mulch pile. The milk for this chicken cheese is what is left after I separate and keep the cream for butter making. One of these days I need to get some cheese making going for us. Things as you might guess have been a bit difficult.

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