Saffron comes from the stigma of the saffron crocus. It’s no wonder that saffron’s considered one of the most expensive spices: according to Mr. Harold McGee, it takes over 70,000 flowers and about 200 hours of labor to produce only 1 pound of dried saffron.
The best saffron is bright red, and not yellow. It’s wonderful for adding a signature “hay-like” flavor, and a beautiful yellow-orange color to dishes. To use saffron, throw a few threads in hot water (or other liquid) to release the color and flavors, then use both the threads and liquid in your dish.
I buy saffron online from saffron.com. A 5 gram bottle costs $40 and goes a long way.