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Lesson Note

Subject: Food And Nutrition

Topic: Food Study
Sub Topic: Condiments And Seasonings

Lesson Objectives: By the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:

  • Explain the terms Herb, Spices, Condiments and Seasonings;
    1. Distinguish between herbs and spices;
    2. Classify Herbs and spices into groups.

    Lesson Summary Aids: see reference materials below contents.

    Lesson Summary / Discussion

    Condiments And Seasonings

    Condiment is a supplemental food, such as a sauce or powder, that is added to some foods to impart a particular flavour, enhance its flavor, or, in some cultures, to complement the dish, but that cannot stand alone as a dish. Seasoning are substances used to add taste or flavour to food, such as a condiment, herb or spice.
    Herbs and spices belong to a group of substance known as food additives. Food additives (herbs and spices) are usually added to food so as to improve the flavour, appearance, texture and preserve the food. By improving the flavour and texture of food, herbs and spices helps to set the appetite and increase the flow of the digestive juices, thereby making the food more easily digested. It is important to mention that too much of either can spoil a dish. It is therefore advisable to use them sparingly at first so as to discover the difference they can make in a dish and then they may be used to more liberally.

    There are no hard-and-fast rules for the use of herbs and spices only experience will teach one which types and how much of them to use. There is no clear distinction between herbs and spices. However, for convenience and simplicity, herbs are usually the leaves of plants while spices are derived from the root seeds buds or the bark of plants.
    Herbs can be preserved either by drying or freezing. They should be dried as rapidly as possible away from direct sunlight. After drying, the leaves are then crushed into powder and stored in airtight glass containers. For freezing, herb leaves are washed, patted dry, and spread in a single layer on freezer paper, rolled and the ends sealed with freezer tape.
    herbs and spices should be purchased in small amounts so that they may be used before they become stale. Because they contain volatile materials known as essential oils, which gives them their characteristic flavour and odour, herbs and spices become still on standing exposed to air or when stored in a warm place and thereby lose their valued flavour and odour.

    Chart Showing Different Kinds of Condiments and Seasoning.

    Classification of Herbs And Spices

    Herbs and spices can be classified into to two major groups which are natural and artificial.
    1. Natural Herbs And Spices: these are herb and spices used directly as derived from the plants without subjecting them to any industrial processing. Examples of natural herbs are African lemongrass (Cymbopogon citrates), bitter leaf etc. Examples of some natural spices are African nutmeg, African black pepper, ginger and different types of red pepper, onion and mustard seed.
    2. Artificial Herbs And Spices: these are herbs and spices that are produced industrially after some processing procedures. Examples are Curry, thyme, sesame, etc. Most of the artificial herbs and spices are foreign based.

    Uses of herbs and spices

    • Herbs and spices are used to improve the flavour of the food.
    • They act as a tenderizer.
    • They are used for garnishing food.
    • As mentioned earlier herbs and spices should be used with caution and a moderate quantity as they produce and undesirable effects if the appropriate quantity is not.

    Food Flavouring And Colouring

    Flavour is a substance is added to foods to improve their flavours aroma texture and in some cases taste.
    Colouring on the other hand are substances added to foods to improve its colour, hence make it more aesthetically appealing and attractive.
    Flavourings and colourings can be classified into two major groups which are natural and artificial. The natural ones are those present in plants. In this case the actual plants are added to food and they exude their flavour, aroma, or colour during cooking. The artificial ones are the extract from the plants and are chemically modified to suit specific objectives. They are produced industrially.
    Certain chemicals are also added to food to assist in establishing the colour and flavour of the food. These types of chemicals are called flavour enhancers. as mentioned earlier extreme care must be taken when making use of other flavorings or colouring. This is because a wrong use can produce an undesirable effects.
    Examples of flavour or colour enhances are organic acids, sodium chloride, lecithin, monosodium glutamate, maltol, chlorophenoxy acetic acid, cycloheximide, 2, 4 – D cyocel.

    Done studying? See previous lessons in Food And Nutrition

    Lesson Evaluation /Test

    1. Explain the terms condiments and seasoning, flavouring and colouring.
    2. Distinguish between herbs and spices.
    3. What are the classes of herbs and spices?

    Teacher and learners discussion: list the different local herbs and spices available in your locality and state how they are used. Share your knowledge in the comment section.

    Questions answered correctly? Bravo!Do stay connected to Myschoollibrary for more educational contents!


    “Merriam-Webster: Definition of condiment”. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved April 11, 2022

    Olusanya et al. (2009), Food And Nutrition for Senior Secondary Schools. University Press Ibadan.

    Image Credit: vectorstock.com

    Note: Myschoollibrary considers the above academic resources appropriate and so were sourced for the development of this lesson. Hence no part of these reference materials should be lifted from this blog without due credence to the various sources.