Juicy fruit fit for kings
Watermelon is the perfect summer dessert - crisp, refreshing, thirst-quenching - and it even comes in its own natural packaging, so you don't have to think about finding a big container when you want to take it to a barbecue.
It's also well suited to savoury dishes, especially salads that normally contain tomatoes, and can be used to replace or complement its fellow red fruit.
The fruity details
Watermelons have been around for thousands of years. Originally thought to have come from the south of Africa, their seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, and mentioned in the Bible. China, where the fruit arrived in the 12th century, is the world's largest producer of the fruit (although not always successfully - remember the exploding watermelons in Jiangsu last year?).
Watermelons are related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
Although they are made up of 92 per cent water, watermelons are packed with nutrients: lycopene, potassium, and vitamins A, B6 and C.
Last-minute BBQ salad
This simple salad takes about five minutes to put together - perfect for taking to a family barbecue, or when extra people show up.
1 pack feta cheese, cubed
4 teacups full of watermelon, cubed
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
Handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Handful sunflower or pumpkin seeds (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
Put all the ingredients except the oil and pepper in a large bowl and mix gently. Just before serving, drizzle over the olive oil and add pepper to taste. (For a special touch, serve the salad in the hollowed-out watermelon shell.)
Kebabs with watermelon salsa
For the kebabs
500g chicken breast or pork, cubed
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
1 green pepper, cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Juice of 1 lemon; 2 tbsp olive oil
1 chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)
For the salsa
3 cups watermelon, cubed
2 medium tomatoes, deseeded, roughly chopped
Handful mint leaves, finely chopped
Juice 1 lime
1 Make the kebabs: combine all ingredients in a non-metallic bowl, mix, leave to marinate for at least 30minutes and up to 2 hours. Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 15 minutes.
2 Meanwhile, make the salsa. Toss all the ingredients together gently. Refrigerate until you're ready to eat.
3 Take the cubes of meat and pepper out of the marinade, draining any excess. Thread them onto the skewers. Cook them in a dry frying pan, griddle pan or on the barbecue until thoroughly cooked (about five minutes each side).
4 Serve hot kebabs with salsa on the side.