The Hawaiian varieties are the papayas found in supermarkets. These pear-shaped fruits weigh about 1 pound and have yellow skin when ripe. The flesh is bright orange or pinkish, depending on variety, with small black seeds clustered in the center. Hawaiian papayas are easier to harvest because the plants seldom grow taller than 8 feet.
A properly ripened papaya is juicy, sweetish and like a cantaloupe in flavor, although musky in some types. It contains papain which helps digestion and is used to tenderize meat. The edible seeds have a spicy flavor reminiscent of black pepper.
Hawaiian papaya varieties are rich in enzymes that stimulate stomach secretions and aid digestion. They contain protein-digesting enzymes including papain and chymopapain.
They are low in fat and are a good source of fiber. Hawaiian papaya varieties not only are an excellent source of Vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, three strong antioxidants but also a very good source of calcium, potassium and Vitamins A and B.