Wash figs and trim stems. Place figs in a large pan and cover with boiling water. Bring to a the boil and boil gently, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with hot water. Return to pan and cover again with boiling water. Repeat boiling and draining process four times in all. Cook until figs are tender after last change of water (about 1 hour's cooking in all).
Drain figs, rinse with cold water and spread out on paper towels to dry.
Insert a whole or split almond into base of each fig if desired.
In a clean pan bring sugar and water to the boil. Add lemon juice and grapefruit or lemon peel and boil for 10 minutes. Add figs and boil over moderate heat for 10 minutes, skimming when necessary. Cover pan and leave overnight.
Next day bring pan contents slowly to the boil and boil gently until syrup is thick when tested. Put figs and syrup into sterilised jars, seal and store in a cool place.
Testing syrup: Drip a little syrup onto a cold plate. If drops do not spread, syrup is ready. If you have a sugar thermometer, cook to a temperature of 105 C (220 F).
Source: The Greek Cookbook - by Tess Mallos
Typed for you by Karen Mintzias