The Spicy Canned Ingredient You Need For The Ultimate Adult PB&J

Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami are the five tastes that cooks use to create different flavors on our palates. It's not a new trend to combine different tastes in the same dish, which tends to be done to specifically heighten one of the other tastes. This often happens when boosting sweet flavors. Think of adding a bit of espresso powder to a chocolate dessert or tart citrus to cheesecake. In both cases, the sweet ingredient tastes even sweeter, not despite it, but because of the presence of a contrasting taste. 

A good ol' peanut butter and jelly is already an example of a great flavor combination. Have you ever noticed how the salty punch of peanut butter makes the jelly taste sweeter? What if you could add even more complexity to this seemingly simple snack? Here's the non-negotiable ingredient: canned chipotle in adobo for a kick of heat.

Aside from the five tastes mentioned earlier, spicy is sometimes considered an additional taste, though there's some contention to that debate. Whichever side of the argument you fall on, spicy-and-sweet is a popular combination, and a spicy fruit jam is a wonderfully grown-up addition to your snack repertoire.

Pump up the jam with chipotle

Canned chipotles in adobo sauce are already a useful pantry ingredient, on standby for a chipotle honey vinaigrette or a chipotle pork and pepper stew. Ashley Rouse, the founder of Trade Street Jam Co., takes it into the dessert-adjacent territory by incorporating smoky chiles in a fruit jam. Her version mixes strawberries, chipotles, and dried figs in a complex jam perfect for the ultimate adult PB&J. 

You can find chipotle fruit jam in stores and online, or try making a homemade version. Homemade jam is already a relatively simple affair: It's basically chunks of fruit simmered with a sweetener of your choice until broken down into a saucy texture. To make a chipotle-spiked jam, add at least one chipotle pepper to the simmering fruit, depending on your spice tolerance. The pepper can be chopped before adding it to the pot of fruit for a chunkier mouthfeel, or you can blend the jam afterward for a smooth texture.

More ideas for spicy jams

There are many ways to personalize a spicy fruit jam. Instead of strawberries and figs, you could try other berries like raspberries or stone fruits like plums and peaches. Pomes like apples and pears help lend a slightly gritty mouthfeel instead of figs. Just remember to follow these expert tips to make jam. As long as the flavor of the fruits being used harmonizes with the chipotle, you're almost guaranteed a deliciously unique jam.

You can even personalize other components of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sub out the peanut butter for different nut butter varieties, like a thick almond spread for a dense bite or something relatively mild like cashew butter to let the spicy fruit jam shine. If you're not feeling like bread, we recommend a healthy dollop of the chipotle-fruit jam with your morning oatmeal—start your day with a zing!