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This common wisdom rings true: Don’t get a kitchen tool that has only one use. Three uses at minimum is a good standard for taking up space in your drawer. After all, you don’t want to be stuck with one of those most hated, useless kitchen tools. Enter the melon baller, whose name belies its versatility.

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The French tool’s advertised use is to scoop out perfect little balls of cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew for fruit salads. But you can justify a melon baller easily. First, you get to say “baller.” That’s enough reason. Then you have the more mature reasons—other food uses.

OK, so this is still using your melon baller as intended—but taking it to the next level by freezing those colorful, fruity spheres, a perfect way to cool down a summer drink. You could have just seltzer and fresh mint, and woo-la: a healthy, colorful, breezy beverage that doesn’t get more refreshing. Of course, you can add them to boozy cocktails too. Get the Melon Ball Ice Cube recipe.

Loaded twice-baked potatoes can be adorable as well as decadent. Typically a heavy, saturated dish, when you use little red potatoes, not so much. Get the Loaded Twice-Baked Red Potatoes recipe.

If you already have a melon baller, no need to buy an apple corer too—of course, you will have to cut the fruit in half first, but that’s exactly what you want to do for our Campfire Baked Apples recipe, a delicious and simple summer dessert. The melon baller will remove the seeds and enough flesh to make space for you to fill the center with dried fruit and nuts before wrapping it in foil and putting it on the grill or over the embers.

For your classic chocolate chip cookies to any other kind that call for scooping the batter with a teaspoon, a melon baller provides a precise measurement and a perfectly rounded sphere of dough.

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Salsa is arguably better when you take out the icky, jelly-like center of the tomatoes with all those seeds. Then when you dice them, you don’t end up with swampy mush. And if you’re making stuffed tomatoes, then you definitely need to get all the gunk out—the melon baller is the perfect tool for the job, and makes quick work of scraping seeds out of squash as well.

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Ashley Sears

Seriously, this is the coolest thing you can do to a cupcake. Everyone expects the sweet frosting on top. But an extra surprise filling inside? Gasp. Get this Vanilla Cupcake with Peanut Butter and Jelly recipe, and see our Champagne Cupcakes recipe for another example. But experiment on your own too; stuff peanut butter into chocolate cupcakes, or Nutella in whatever you please.

A refreshing tidbit in between courses of a big meal would be perfectly presented using one little scoop from a melon baller. Try our Raspberry Sorbet recipe, or our Pineapple-Rum Sorbet recipe. Of course, a miniature ice cream sundae made with multiple Lilliputian scoops would delight kids and adults alike.

Chocolate truffles almost require a melon baller. When you try to form the chocolatey balls with your hands, your warmth melts the chocolate too much. So the less you touch them the better. Get our Charles Chocolates Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles recipe.

When you’ve mastered slicing off all the rough parts surrounding that super-sweet golden flesh, there are always those little bits, or eyes, remaining. Gouge out those suckers with a melon baller, and then put your pineapple on the grill for something extra summery. See our pineapple recipes for even more inspiration.

Swedish meatballs—or honestly, any kind of meatballs—are a perfect party app, especially if they’re on the smaller side. Using a melon baller to scoop the meat mixture will ensure they’re all the same size so they’ll be done at the same time.