Learning a new skill
I did it! I successfully canned 7 quarts of apple juice!
I have preserved fruits through freezing, dehydrating, and turning into jam, but this was the first time I had used a water bath canner. Everyone says it's not hard, and they're right. It isn't hard, but it gave me a sense of pride and satisfaction.
To make the juice, I cut up apples (and the few odd pears I had sitting around) into quarters. I took out the mushy rotten parts and some of the wormy buggy parts, but I left the skins and cores intact. I filled both of my 8-quart pots about 3-quarters full, added a cup-and-a-half of sugar to each, and added enough water to cover. After everything stewed for a couple hours, I mushed up the fruit with the back of a spoon and strained it--twice. I could have used a coffee filter for the second straining, but my wire mesh strainer seemed to worked well enough. Voila! It's apple juice.
The biggest difficulty is working with those big pots in my dark and cramped kitchen. It'll be nice after the remodel project.
The second biggest difficulty is knowing that there are another two-and-a-half bushels of picked apples waiting for attention, with another few hundred thousand still on the trees.