What To Do With A Melon Baller

Five new ways to use your melon baller

What is this, a meal for ants? No, it's just five different ways you can use a melon baller.

Also known as a Parisienne scoop, this kitchen tool has a sharp edge, making it less of a spoon and more like a round knife (seriously, watch your fingers). Sure, melon ballers are good at their namesake task: When it comes to actually scooping melon, they have that on lock. But your melon baller is anything but a one-trick pony.

These five spherical solutions will help you branch out beyond fruit salad.

Don't choke. The inside of an artichoke is filled with fluffy, inedible strands that don't exactly go down smooth. Escape a mouthful of artichoke hair by using a melon baller to remove the fuzzy choke when taking down a whole artichoke. The tool's shape fits perfectly inside the cavity, and the bladelike edge cleanly cuts in, removing all the little pieces in one go.

Work your core. Get the seedy core out of apples and pears in one fell scoop. Using a melon baller cuts down on the amount of edible fruit waste that you're left with when using an ordinary knife and is especially useful when using fruit to prep desserts like pies and tarts. Once you halve the fruit and remove the hard inner part, you're left to make aesthetically pleasing, identical half moon-shaped slices with ease.

Scoop one out. A melon baller can also function as the smallest ice cream scoop known to humankind. It may seem impractical, but mini ice cream orbs are not to be looked down upon and come in handy for intricately plated desserts. You can also prescoop a bunch and put them back in the freezer to reharden, creating a stash of one-bite ice cream orbs for whenever you need a quick hit. Plus, there's no debating how adorable they are.

Become a cookie machine. Portion out seemingly endless amounts of mini cookies from a batch that ordinarily makes a couple dozen. Smaller is always more fun (eat three for the price of one!), and they make a great option for a passable dessert at a dinner party. Take it one step further by putting those baby scoops of ice cream in between mini cookies to make pint-size ice cream sandwiches.

Get a closer shave. If a vegetable peeler is your go-to for finishing a bowl of pasta with cheese, we urge you to reconsider. Chunks of cheese always get stuck in the blade, and the open knife can be a hazard to thumbs everywhere. Use a melon baller instead, and cheese (or chocolate) will fall off the block. Give your baller double-duty in this artichoke salad: first to remove the choke, then to shave the Parmesan on top.