Translation:In winter grandmother used the balcony as a refrigerator.
"... like a refrigerator" should also be accepted. Substituting an appropriate dictionary definition of "as", I obtain "used the balcony in the function of a refrigerator". Similarly substituting for "like", I obtain "used the balcony similarly to a refrigerator". Personally, I prefer "like" in this case.
The definitions used:
as (preposition) in the role, function, or status of (to act as leader)
like (preposition) similarly to; in the manner characteristic of (she works like a beaver)
This is so weird - something I've commented on before. In the dictation exercises, if I pronounce the Russian with a strong Italian accent, I get every single word right (they all get highlight/turn blue). It's like pretending I'm in a "Godfather" movie, and we've "gone to the mattresses" (are in a gang war), and I'm reminiscing to my fellow mafia members about mia nonna.
I said, "In the winter, grandmother used to use the balcony like a fridge." and was marked wrong. I'm assuming it's because of the "used to", but isn't that implied in the use of the imperfective tense, and the "zimoi"?
...Although, I've just looked up исспользовать on Wikitionary, and it's shown there as being both imperfective and perfective...? :/