All the Ways I Tried and Failed to Make a Melon Baller Useful

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

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.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

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

  1. To make melon ice cubes.
  2. To scoop out cucumbers for dainty cucumber cups.
  3. 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?