© Denzil Green
A melon baller is a tool designed to scoop melon flesh out in small, perfectly shaped balls, which you then serve in bowls or incorporate into a fruit salad.
They are composed of a scooping part (bowl) attached to a handle.
The handles will be plastic, wood or metal. Ones that are all plastic or plastic handles may bend or break if you try to use them on too hard a substance.
Melon ballers don’t have a spring-loaded “release latch” on them as larger scoops for other purposes may have.
© Denzil Green
Almost all melon ballers have two sizes of scoops, one on each end of the handle. On good ones, the scooping bowls are made from stainless-steel and their edges will be slightly sharp. The sizes of the bowls seems to range from 1 to 3 cm (1/2 to 1 1/2 inches.) The smallest bowls will make a ball just about the size of a green pea.
Most melon baller scooping bowls sold are round, though you can find oval. Many of the bowls will have a small hole in them, to let liquid flow out when scooping.
Make sure you buy one that is dishwasher safe, if that is important to you.
To use a melon baller with melon, wash your melon, take the seeds out, then cut it in half and scoop the flesh out with a twist of your wrist.
There’s no need to cut the rind off the melon first; you just leave that behind.
You can use left-over melon that can’t be shaped nicely for a blender drink, or just eat it out of hand.
Melon ballers are actually used for many applications other than melon balls. Other uses include:
- scooping out potato flesh for Parisian-class ball cuts of vegetables such as squash, potatoes or carrots (tip: peel the carrots and potatoes first);
- cleaning out the inside of bell peppers;
- cleaning out seed and pulp from cucumbers, squash, tomatoes;
- cleaning out insides of a baked potato shell (if you are making “twice-baked potatoes”);
- for apples, you can use the melon baller to dig out both ends of the apple, then cut it in half with a knife, then use the melon baller again to core it;
- coring other fruit, such as pears and fresh pineapple;
- scooping dough for small cookies;
- scooping small decorative ice cream balls;
- gutting cherry tomatoes, should you be mad enough to want to stuff them;
- shaping chocolate truffles;
- making small soup dumplings such as Matzoh balls;
- shaping cocktail meatballs
- letting children use them when making sand-sculptures.