Mason Jars for Maple Syrup
Since we're not planning to sell our maple syrup, we are perfectly content to keep it in mason jars until we need it. It's very easy to "can" maple syrup:
1. Dry sterilize the jars. We do this by putting them in a square cake pan in the oven as it heats to 220. Then we turn off the oven but keep them in it so they stay warm until we need them. (The pan just makes it easy to get them in and out of the oven.)
2. When the maple syrup is done boiling and off the heat, funnel it directly into the hot jars. Because the syrup is so hot, you can use it to sterilize the lid. Put the lid in place and screw on the ring very tightly, then (with oven mitts!) tip the jar upside down before placing it on a towel to cool on a countertop.
3. The syrup is so hot that you don't need to worry about a water bath to seal them, either. The vacuum action will happen to seal the jars up, and then you can keep them on the shelf instead of in the fridge.
The one drawback to using a mason jar instead of a fancy bottle is that when it comes time to pour the syrup over pancakes, it's awfully hard to aim. Also, it slops all over the side of the jar and make a sticky mess.
At least, I'm assuming it does. Before any of that could happen, I found this:
It turns out that the mason jar company has anticipated this very dilemma and invented the Re-Cap lid. It just screws onto any old mason jar and turns it into a bottle with a pour spout and a flip lid.
Also, it's slightly expensive at $7 bucks a pop. Still, for this purpose I only need one, since only the syrup jar in the fridge needs a spout, while the rest stay sealed up on a shelf until needed.
So far I'm totally impressed. It has a tight seal all the way around the lid and the spout, and it's not at all flimsy. If you wanted to, you could also use a Re-Cap lid for turning a Mason jar into a cheap water bottle for the road.
And if you're dealing with maple syrup or honey harvests, I think it's a must-have.