(Papaw or Paw Paw, Mamao, Tree Melon) The papaya is believed to be native to southern Mexico and neighboring Central America. It is now present in every tropical and subtropical country. There are two types of papayas, Hawaiian and Mexican. The Hawaiian varieties are the papayas commonly found in supermarkets. These pear-shaped fruit generally weigh about 1 pound and have yellow skin when ripe. Papaya is a very good source of vitamins A and C The primary use of the papaya is as an edible fruit. It is usually eaten raw, without the skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit of papaya can be eaten cooked usually in curries, salads and stews. Papaya is rich in an enzyme called papain (a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat) and other proteins. Its utility is in breaking down the tough meat fibers and it has been utilized for thousands of years in its native South America. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers. Papaya enzyme is also marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems.