Growing up in South America gave me great advantages. What’s consider a “new trend” or “superfood” in the US and Europe today, I drank or ate back in the 70’s and 80’s as part of the local cuisine.
Aloe Vera, now considered a super plant by mainstream, grew in every one of my friend’s homes as part of their landscape, pretty much like we grow azaleas, or junipers here in the US. It was, and is one of the medicinal plants every local “curandero” (Shaman) would use to cure simple skin burns, rashes and other illnesses. I grew up knowing what every part of the plant is used for and every hot season growing up in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, my Italian mom would make her favorite nutritious drink, “Merengada de Sábila” Aloe Milkshake.
Aloe Vera is high on Vitamin A, C and E which are antioxidants, along with vitamin B12. It also contains 8 enzymes some of them responsible for breaking down sugars and fat, making it a great natural and nutritional drink to help you loose weight without starving yourself to death. It also provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids.
Aloe Vera is best known for its healing, anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties when applied to the skin, and for its mild laxative effects when taken in juices or waters, so drinking too much of this beverage isn’t recommended.
— Before drinking this milkshake make sure you aren’t allergic to aloe vera as some allergies to this plant have been reported —
For this recipe you will need a live plant. Don’t try to make the drink with aloe vera juice or gel, it just won’t work. You could also try to find a penca (referred to as the leaf of this particular plant) at your farmer’s market.
1 piece of freshly cut aloe vera about 3-4 inches in length
1 cup of room temperature or cold milk
Honey or sugar to taste
Vanilla extract (optional)
Cut a healthy leaf from the bottom of the plant if you happen to have one in the garden like I do, or buy it at your local farmers market. Carefully wash it to remove all the dirt. Cut the tip and end of the leaf and any dry part. Depending on the size of the leaf cut in 3 or 4 pieces, about 3-4 inches in length. Carefully cut the thorns out. Peel the green skin off with a potato peeler or knife until you get a clean aloe crystal. It gets very slippery as the skin is removed so watch out for flying aloe vera crystals. Make sure all the green parts are completely removed. Don’t wash the juice off. Put the aloe crystal in a blender, add the milk and honey or sugar and the vanilla. Blend for about 1-2 minutes or until you can’t see any big pieces of aloe.
Pour in a glass, add some ice and enjoy!