A melon baller is a kitchen utensil designed to scoop out spherical chunks of melon, or other foods, when used properly. While the tool might seem obscure, there are actually a number of uses for one, and it is a tool that many people find well worth acquiring for the kitchen, especially for those who do a great deal of formal entertaining. Most kitchen supply stores sell ones in an assortment of sizes, and they are also typically available through special order.
At first glance, a melon baller looks like a slightly bizarre spoon. It typically has a medium length handle of wood, plastic, or another easily gripped material, attached to a semi-spherical scoop. The utensil is sunk into the melon and twisted to pull out a neat ball of fruit. In some cases, the device is double ended, with scoops of two different sizes to make it more versatile. Ovoid scoops are also available, for creating oblong shapes.
While this tool is designed for melons, there are an assortment of potential uses for it. It can be used to create neatly sculpted butter pats, for example, or garnishes of other fruits, like strawberries. Cooks can also take small scoops of sorbet or ice cream to create dessert garnishes or small teaser tastes. Using a melon baller is almost irresistible, and some cooks find themselves making spherical garnishes out of everything they can imagine when they first buy one.
This tool can also be used to do things like scoop the seeds and pith from fruits. When making roasted stuffed vegetables like mushrooms, tomatoes, or peppers, it can neatly and quickly remove the unwanted portions. It can also be used to scrape the seeds from squash and perform other similar tasks.
When choosing a melon baller, shoppers should look for one that is sturdy and feels heavy in the hand. Consumers should make sure that the handle is very solid, as it should not snap off while being used. Many companies make ones that are dishwasher safe, which can be quite convenient, but cooks should always double check on this to avoid damaging the tool. Double ended ones more versatile around the kitchen.