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Melon Baller Techniques?

I'm attempting the throw together a quick fruit salad tonight, and HATE the mess cutting up melon makes (so much so, I've avoided it for years).

I purchased a melon baller, thinking I could slice the melon (watermelon, honeydew and cantalope) in half or quarters and start scooping out balls.

But then I remembered doing this several years ago (10+) and seem to remember not being able to make balls - but instead, making these odd 1/2 or 3/4 ball shapes..... which got me thinking:

Are there any techniques I could use to make the actual round shape? Any tips on ways to do this quickly and efficently? ...or am I overthinking this -- just press down, twist, and scoop out? Any way to not have juice from the melon all over the place?

TIA for helping me get over my avoidance of preparing melons!

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  1. To get a perfect round, press down firmly so the melon baller digs into the flesh, then twist to make the circle. I cut my melon in half and scoop out the balls. That way, the juice stays inside the half-melon, and then I just pour out the juice if I so decide to use it for something.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ctl98

      Thanks for these tips... I don't think I initally pressed down enough.

      1. re: The Oracle

        That's exactly right: you need to push down until the melon flesh is all the way into the scoop to get a round ball, otherwise you get a flat surface where the flesh didn't touch the back of the scoop.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I have a plastic one that doesn't work very well. Should I get a metal one, or just practice?

          1. re: danhole

            I can't imagine a plastic one would be as good as a metal one. But here's a tip I picked up just this week: if you have sturdy, round (not oval) metal measuring spoons, you can use those.

    2. Additionally I do the scooping in my kitchen sink....if the juice goes everywhere it'll be in the sink.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kitchenhag

        Using the kitchen sink would have been a good idea. My melon balling was a general success -- however, the watermelon created a HUGE mess. Each time I scooped, the juice went flying in every direction (on me, the counter, the backspash, the cupboards, the floor - it was awful (and I was trying to be gentle!)).

      2. Another unrelated (and timely) use for melon ballers: carving designs on pumpkins. I am making fancy carved pumpkins for an event, and will have some that have holes punched through (with a pottery tool) and then also little circle designs that don't go all the way through the skin made with the melon baller. Just a crazy idea.

        1. Yes, what they said: just press down harder, twist the wrist and tada! a ball!

          And now for a similarly season-appropriate, slightly off-topic note...melon ballers also do a great job of coring apples. Slice apple in half (from stem to 'flower') and use the melon baller to scoop out core on each side. (you actually want to make a 1/2 or 3/4 ball this time) I make a lot of apple pie this time of year and I've found this to be the quickest method by far. Especially since using an actual apple-corer always makes me feel like I'm about to stab myself. And it usually misses some of the outlying core bits.

          1 Reply
          1. re: wawajb

            It's also nice for coring pears, especially if you want them to look nice, since you get a neat, rounded hollow.

          2. I have a metal melon baller with a small scoop on one end and a larger scoop on the other. The melon balls fall right out of the large side but always get stuck in the small, so that I have to poke a fork into them to loosen them. I know, a small problem, but still...they don't look as pretty with holes in them.