We've all heard of the miraculous feats that Aloe Vera performs on injured or sunburned skin, but did you know that Aloe is also edible?
While you only really see it being sold as a juice in health food stores here, in Japan, it's quite common to see it added to beverages and yogurt. It's one of my favorite things with yogurt (up there with passionfruit), and I love the slightly green taste and the quivery cubes of aloe that have the texture of resilient grapes.
Realizing that I may be waiting a long while for Dannon to start offering little cups with aloe on the bottom here in the States, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I'd seen aloe being sold at Essex Market before, so I made the trip out and picked up two long spears of aloe at the produce place. If you don't have aloe growing in your back yard, you can probably find it at a Latin American grocery store.
Because some people are funny about textures, I should warn you that raw aloe is extremely slimy. Think okra x10. Cooking it reduces the slime factor considerably, but it does still have a viscous slippery feel to it.
Cooking the aloe will give off a ton of liquid and the cubes will shrink and soften without losing their shape. On a bowl of plain yogurt with a bit of lime zest, poached aloe makes for a light, refreshing breakfast and a great way to start the morning.
The soft, slippery cubes can also be added to beverages for textural interest. This is a popular use for the plant across Asia. Aloe has been haled as a superfood for many reasons, but I just enjoy the texture of it. You can add poached aloe to fruit salads, smoothies, and even mixed drinks. Tequila Aloe Shooters, anyone?
More Yogurt Topping Ideas
- 1 cup evaporated cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
- 2 large aloe leaves (about 1 pound)
- Because the aloe is very slippery it is hard to peel, but it's important that you get all the fiberous green peel off the aloe as it is tough and bitter. Chop the aloe into small cubes and add to a small saucepan along with the sugar and lime juice.
- Cook the aloe over medium low heat until the liquid is no longer slimy and the cubes have the texture of resilient grapes. Allow to cool and serve over plain yogurt.