Saffron is a deep yellow-orange colored spice that's commonly used in Middle Eastern and South Asian food. Because it's quite expensive, saffron is usually sold in small quantities.
Saffron looks like short, feathery threads — it's made from dried crocus stigmas, the thin stems at the center of the flower. A pinch of saffron, sometimes soaked in water, gives food a subtle sweet, grassy flavor and often a hint of orange or yellow color. This color itself is also called saffron. The word saffron comes from the Old French safran, by way of the Medieval Latin safranum, ultimately from the Arabic root az-za'faran.