This common wisdom rings true: Don’t get a kitchen tool that has only one use. Three uses at minimum is a good standard for taking up space in your drawer. After all, you don’t want to be stuck with one of those most hated, useless kitchen tools. Enter the melon baller, whose name belies its versatility.
The French tool’s advertised use is to scoop out perfect little balls of cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew for fruit salads. But you can justify a melon baller easily. First, you get to say “baller.” That’s enough reason. Then you have the more mature reasons — other food uses.
1. Make cute balls with almost any firm fruit or vegetable — or ice cubes.
2. Hollow out food to stuff it with other food.
Loaded twice-baked potatoes can be adorable as well as decadent. Typically a heavy, saturated dish, when you use little red potatoes, not so much. Get the recipe.
3. Core fruit such as apples, pears, and quince.
4. Scoop cookie dough from the batter bowl to the baking pan.
For your classic cookies to any kind that call for scooping the batter with a spoon, a melon baller provides a precise measurement that’s sometimes easier to use than a teaspoon. Get our Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.
5. Remove the icky bits from tomatoes, seeds from cucumbers, and stringy bits from winter squash and artichokes.
Salsa and pico de gallo are arguably better when you take out the icky, jelly-like center with all those seeds. Then when you dice them, you don’t end up with swampy mush. Get the recipe.
6. Create cavities in cupcakes for surprise fillings.
Seriously, this is the coolest thing you can do to a cupcake. Everyone expects the sweet frosting on top. But an extra surprise filling inside? Gasp. Get the recipe.
7. Scoop a palate-cleansing sorbet ball for each dinner guest.
A refreshing tidbit in between courses of a big meal would be perfectly presented using one scoop of a melon baller. You could stick with summer season flavors, like this watermelon-lemonade flavor sorbet. Get the recipe.
8. Make chocolate truffles.
Chocolate truffles almost require a melon baller. When you try to form the chocolatey balls with your hands, your warmth melts the chocolate too much. So the less you touch them the better. Get our Charles Chocolates Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles recipe.
9. Gouge the remaining eye bits of a whole pineapple.
When you’ve mastered slicing off all the rough parts surrounding that super-sweet golden flesh, there are always those little bits, or eyes, remaining. Gouge out those suckers with a melon baller, and then create something crazy savory-sweet, like this recipe.
— Head photo: Wikihow.