Fruit drying is useful in all countries to preserve a large glut of surplus fruits. This is particularly useful for storing fruit for the winter time, especially years ago when appliances like freezers and fridges were not available.
In the picture below you can see how the building works. A fire would be started underneath to create smoke and heat, then metal gridded trays (see top picture) would be layered inside the building at intervals to leave space for the smoke to get in and around the fruit.
Thin fruit slices such as apple rings and pears would be dried this way. Many places in Switzerland and Germany still use these, sometimes on a smaller scale in the garden. You can see in this one it is now also used for drying bread to feed to some of the livestock.
This is one of many processes of how smallholding was and is currently done in some European countries. The smallholding methods are different in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the UK. If you would like to discover more about different smallholding methods go to http://thegoodlifeinpractice.wordpress.com/
Katy is a 24 year old smallholder, blogger and cook. She currently smallholds in Switzerland including keeping chickens, but will return to her native Suffolk, UK later in the year. Katy is a member of the Suffolk and Essex Poultry Club and has a diploma in Countryside Management.