Shepherds Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medic) Edible parts: Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked (raw is healthier). Young leaves used before the plant flowers is a tasty addition to salads. The leaves are a cress and cabbage substitute that becomes peppery with age. Flowering shoots can be eaten. Seeds can be used in salads, but they are so tiny you’ll need patience to collect them. The root is edible; dried and ground up is can be used as a ginger substitute.