High Dumpsy Dearie – Traditional English Fruit Jam

READY IN: 55mins
Recipe by French Tart

I cannot resist sharing this recipe with you all, if only to try to preserve its delightful name! Nobody appears to know where the name originated from, although it has been suggested that it was an enterprising farmer’s wife, using up her windfall fruit that came up with the quirky name. The jam is thought to originate from Worcestershire, although Gloucestershire also lays claim to it! Nevertheless, this is a wonderful jam which makes full use of three of my favourite Autumn fruits – Apples, Pears and Plums. The jam is a lovely deep rosy pink colour and is delicious not only on bread, toast and scones – but also when used in steamed jam puddings such as Jam Roly-Poly. Do not omit the lemon and ginger – they are the key to the flavour in this lovely jam. The recipe is easily increased or reduced, as long as the ratio of fruit is the same, it works just as well. N.B. It is sometimes seen as Dumpsie Dearie Jam. Please note that I have quoted UK yield - we use pound and half pound jars, which I believe may equate to pint and half pint jars in the States.

Top Review by Chef Tweaker

I originally made this Oct 2007. I had subbed 1/8 ground ginger which I mixed with the sugar. I think I got the right amount as there was just a shadow of ginger flavor. Also I had no scale so I used the conversion to cups that is given in the canning forum. The texture was very grainy so really, weighing the fruit is imperative. I made it again a few weeks ago with correct measurement of fruit (just slightly more pears than apples)and fresh ginger. Most of my plums were yellow but a few purple ones and it was enough to make it a lovely color! My only complaint is the amount of sugar required... this being a pectin-free recipe. I hope a certain British farmer's wiffe doesn't roll in her grave but I'm considering using my low-sugar pectin next time and see what I can come up with.
Yield was 11 jelly jars (half pints)

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Prepare fruit and weigh them AFTER they have been peeled, cored and stoned.
  2. Place all the fruit and the ginger into a large preserving pan and simmer VERY gently for about 45 minutes, or until the fruit is very soft and tender.
  3. Add some water if the fruit does not make enough juice itself – and keep stirring constantly to avoid the fruit sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the sugar stirring well. Put the pan back on a gentle heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.
  6. Bring up to the boil and cook rapidly until the setting point has been reached; test after 15 minutes and every 2 minutes thereafter.
  7. Removes as much scum as you can – small knobs of butter helps to disperse the scum – add it and stir well.
  8. Discard the ginger in the muslin bag – pressing it well before removing to extract the last of the ginger flavour.
  9. Pour into cooled and sterilised jam jars and seal.
  10. Label and store for up to 2 years in a cool and dark place.
  11. Serve with bread, toast, scones, cakes, pancakes and use in steamed and baked puddings and desserts.
  12. How to test the setting point:.
  13. Have one or two saucers in your freezer; as soon as the jam starts to feel "thicker" and is very syrupy, after about 15 minutes, take the jam off the heat and put one teaspoon of jam on to one of the very cold saucers. Then push the jam with your finger, if it wrinkles and is firm and not runny, then the setting point has been reached. It is important to take the jam off the heat whilst you check!
  14. If the setting point has not been reached - put the jam back onto the heat and continue to boil rapidly for another 2 minutes, continue with this method until the setting point has been reached!

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