When I was about 13, I suddenly decided that I needed (not wanted) a melon baller. (I am fully aware of how strange this sounds.) Just starting to get excited about cooking, I became enamored of those fruit salads filled with perfect orbs of melon at friends' birthday and pool parties. So much so that I convinced my dad to buy me a melon baller when we were at the grocery store one weekend after one of those parties — and so my fixation began.
A Short, Sweet Love Affair
For those first few blissful months, I made my family eat a lot of fruit salad. I took any excuse to whip out the cheap tool and scoop away at cantaloupe and watermelon halves to create fancy-looking bowls of fruit. Then, like any respectable teenager, I got tired of it and moved on. I bought my first pastry brush with a Willams-Sonoma gift card, followed by things like quirky cookie cutters and a mini muffin tin, and the melon baller went forgotten.
An Attempt to Make Something Out of Nothing
Then, after years of neglect, college, and moving away, I stumbled upon the little tool when I was back at my dad's house. It brought back fond memories of my early fascination in the kitchen, which has ultimately led me to where I am today, but it also had me wondering what a melon baller really is useful for besides, well, making perfect balls of melon. So for old time's sake, I dusted it off and searched for ways to make this cheap tool useful.
3 Ways I Used the Melon Baller
- To make melon ice cubes.
- To scoop out cucumbers for dainty cucumber cups.
- To scoop the core out of pear halves before poaching them.
Some of the time it was a success, but other times I found that dear melon baller to hardly be of help — without a sharp edge, it struggled with firm items, and a spoon or paring knife proved to be more useful.
I wanted to write a story about how the melon baller is the unsung hero of the junk drawer — that it deserves to be dusted off and used to seed tomatoes and core apples — but you know what? You already have utensils in your drawer that can do those things quite well. A melon baller makes exemplary spheres of melon and perhaps we should just leave it at that. If it makes a fruit salad more fun, then it's done its job and that $1.50 investment was (sort of) worth it.
Any fans of the melon baller out there? Any haters?