Did I make my preserved lemons correctly? (pic included)

I don't think my lemon preserve looks right. I used 6 lemon quartered but held together at one end covered in kosher salt and squeezed them into the mason jar. I used a wooden spoon to press down on them to get the juice out and then added a little more fresh lemon juice to cover them. I liberally added more kosher salt and some pickling spices but I am now wondering if I used too much lemon juice. What should the desired end product look like? Was it a misstep to press the lemons?
I am headed to Morocco in a few months and had been looking up cuisine. I have never made preserved lemons or cooked with them so I don't know the in and outs. Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

Daniel Decline
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Maedl May 5, 2013
Daniel, if you come to Munich in September or October and can get outside of the city, you may well be able to see sauerkraut being made. I happened across a family making it several years ago in the town of Aiding, and had a great time watching the process.
Daniel D. May 4, 2013
Thank you - that's great advice. I had read to leave out room temp for a few days and then move to the fridge - should i leave at room temp the whole time? Now you've got me interested in making sauerkraut! I am heading to Munich for Oktoberfest - I might have to stop by!

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teamom May 3, 2013
Your lemons clouded because you pressed the flesh. Just prepare the lemons as you did, pack as many lemons into a jar as will fit, salt, weight, and cover. Let draw for 30 days. The salt will naturally draw out the juice. Check occasionally - you may need to add more juice ONLY if the fruit flesh becomes uncovered. Do not add more salt. This is the exact same process as making sauerkraut, which I've sold in Munich for over 20 years (yup, out of a barrel, thus ruining my right shoulder rotator cuff).
Many years ago, my customers asked me for these. I could not convince my husband to make them, so I went to the wholesale market, bought a case of lemons, and followed this very simple method. Now they're one of our best sellers.

Daniel D. May 4, 2013
Thank you - that's great advice. I had read to leave out room temp for a few days and then move to the fridge - should i leave at room temp the whole time? Now you've got me interested in making sauerkraut! I am heading to Munich for Oktoberfest - I might have to stop by!
Maedl May 3, 2013
I love the idea of the spices--as Creamtea pointed out that are used in Safi. I’ll try that the next time I preserve lemons--might make my fish eating more interesting!
Maedl May 2, 2013
Forgot to memtion that you can add finely chopped preserved lemons to cooked greens for a different flavor--or, if you can find freekah, a smoked spelt from the Middle East, the lemons add a tasty note to that as wel.
Maedl May 2, 2013
Sounds like you have good plans for the lemons. The chicken, lemons and olives dish is one of my all-time favorites and I make it frequently. Next time you go to Morocco, bring back a tagine so you have the real thing. The terra cotta ones are for cooking and the decorated ones are for serving. meanwhile, you can make a tagine successfully in other pots. I use an ancient cast iron Dutch oven and the condensed steam drips back into the stew just like it does in the proper dish. One of my favorite memories of Morocco was looking into a window on the ground level of a hamamm and seeing a man tending the huge oven which was packed with tagines slowly cooking for the dinners of various families in the community.
Daniel D. May 2, 2013
I think I might try that way next time - thank you! I am lucky to live only an hour from North Africa by ferry so I was able to get the real deal - though they were just labeled limon de Marruecos so I am not sure the actual type.
duckfat May 2, 2013
I use the Saveur recipe which directs that you weigh the lemons for 4 days until they're covered by their juices. Then you fill the jar with olive oil and in a month they're ready to go. I've been doing it this way for years and they keep for months. I'm lucky to have a Meyer lemon tree which I understand is the closest Moroccan lemons. You can use the lemons in so many ways, like whenever lemon peel is in the list of ingredients.
Daniel D. May 2, 2013
I have a few ideas - braised whole chicken with a white wine, olive and preserved lemon reduction which is a take on a Moroccan recipe I saw.
Also thinking about doing a white bean bisque with crab and lemon preserve though I am not sure the texture of the lemons when they are done.
I also would love to attempt a tagine though I think I am better off trying the real thing and then taking a stab at it.
Thanks for the feedback!
Maedl May 2, 2013
They look fine to me, too! I don't think Moroccans would put spice in the lemons because there are so many spices in their food, but you might as well experiment. don't forget to give them a daily shake! That's a lot of preserved lemons you will have. How do you plan on using them?
creamtea May 2, 2013
According to Paula Wolfert, Safis add a mix coriander seed, peppercorns, cloves, a cinnamon stick and a bay leaf to their mixture, which is how I make them.
Maedl May 2, 2013
Interesting about the Safi recipe. I had to look up Safi, and see that it is on the Atlantic coast. The spices they use in the lemons would seem to go well with fish, which must be a predominant food there. Makes me wonder what their food is like!
creamtea May 3, 2013
Maedl, you make a good point about Safi, and looking back in Wolfert's Couscous and Other Good Foods from Morocco, I see that many of the fish dishes she includes are indeed Safi specialties; she writes that there is "a certain finesse in Safi cookery...the chermoula is more aromatic (due to the addition of saffron)..." etc. The addition of the spices to the lemons is very subtle but delicious...I sometimes pull a quarter lemon out of the jar to rinse and nibble plain...
AntoniaJames May 2, 2013
They look great! Mine don't usually have that much liquid, but you should be fine. Congratulations! ;o) P.S. Love it that you put those spices in there. They'll be tasty indeed.
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