I love the color and taste of Saffron and use it often when cooking Iranian dishes.
Saffron can be purchased in the USA at different ethnic stores and I usually get mine from Iranian grocery stores. I would recommend staying away from the powdered saffron since it may have other things added to it. Saffron strands should have a bright red or deep orange color if they are a high quality product.
To use take a pinch of Saffron strands - a lot goes far - and first crush them into a fine powder. Then add a tablespoon or two of hot liquid and let it sit for about 15 minutes. The idea is to extract as much color of the Saffron strands and of course flavor as possible. Then you can add the liquid to your recipe.
To learn more about the Saffron flower visit my Garden Delights blog.